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Thread: Cliffhangers

  1. #1
    Pseudonym is offline Senior Member Frequent Poster
    Join Date
    May 2008

    Default Cliffhangers

    Anyone who writes mini-novels/fanfics?

    Usually when fanfics get too long to be considered in a single chapter we tend to divide it into chapters. When dividing it into chapter, do you practice that tactic called 'cliffhanger'? Cliffhangers is usually defined or described as an event at the END of chapter (NOT the novel/fanfic) which shows a significant event, action/s of character/s that will lead to a more significant events in the next chapter. Usually characters express deep emotions such as shock, amazement, deep anger, planning for a very significant act, confused and other similar feelings, before the chapter is being 'cut'. Any fanfic or novel writer doing this?

    I practice on using this tactic on my fanfics and novels. Employing cliffhangers can add excitement to the readers as they will wonder what will happen next as the significant scenes are being cut so they are excited to find out about the next installment. It adds spice to the chapters and the whole fanfic and novel as well. About 85% of the chapters of my novels/fanfic are ended through cliffhangers.

    I rarely see mangas who employ this tactic. The only mangas I know that use cliffhangers are: Love Hina (book 10 to 14); Negima! and Tsubasa. There might be others, however. I found it wanting to read more of the next chapter whenever I encountered cliffhangers used to end a chapter.

  2. #2
    ridegmuve is offline Junior Member Newbie
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Belfast and by the way I hate the colour pink!


    I write fanfics (well, wrote one so far but I left it at a very early chapter, I'm trying to back into it now!!! ^_^) and I plan to start my own fantasy novel with my own illustrations, I think Cliffhangers are a good thing to use when the fiction or story reaching it's climax, which does leave the reader with an "OMG, I wanna read more.. I wanna know what happens..." feeling, but I think if you put cliffhangers at the very begining of your story, it won't do any good cause people are yet to know your characters and they are yet to know what is happening... Some stories can pull it off early enough, if it's an action story but otherwise I wouldn't think so...

    Naruto used a cliffhanger recently and Highschool Debut is using one in chapter 41, it does add excitment and I couldn't wait with Naruto and I'm having withdrawal symptoms with Highschool Debut... ^_^

    I know it's not the thread for it, but if you could give me pointers how to start a first chapter, cause I find my own way boring and don't feel that it could pull in the reader as well... I personally start off with a one liner that motivates the main hero, then explaining who said it and how is the person related to the main hero or just go on about the scenery and thoughts of the hero...
    As I mentioned above, I think this could get very boring! So please help me and thanks, I'm looking forward to your guidance... ^_^

  3. #3
    Jeinkas is offline Banned Frequent Poster
    Join Date
    Jul 2008


    Well, cliffhangers are a great tool get readers hooked, but personally, I feel too many cliffhangers make reading tiring. This is especially so when you're reading a lot in one go, and the start of the next chapter happens to be a recap. Another example of a bad cliffhanger I can think of is life-threatening situations. Too many and believability shatters.

    I like to use a hidden revelation as a cliffhanger. Not the cheap kind that readers have no idea what was revealed and have to read and find out though. While effective, I find it plain lazy. Leaving hints is more fun for the reader and writer.

    All that said, don't take me too seriously. I'm just stating a few gripes I have as a reader. My writing abilities, while not fail, is not good enough to pull off good cliffhangers, so I tend to just skip to the viewpoint of a different character. when I get bored with the current one.

  4. #4
    Miashin is offline Junior Member Newbie
    Join Date
    Nov 2005


    Cliffhangers, like any writing tool, need to be used with control and moderation. It really depends on location (in the story) too. In early chapters, if your going to use a cliffhanger, make it an action one since people aren't yet invested enough for an emotional one to have any effect. A first chapter with a decent cliffhanger can serve as a very good hook to catch the reader and have them spend their time on the rest of the story.

    Near the climax of the story, a cliffhanger concerning a surprise of some kind (that was hinted at throughout the story up till then) can also spice things up greatly. There's nothing like a good mystery, that actually gets the reader involved, to keep people reading.

    I find that cliffhangers of life and death situations don't work so well. Most readers are so jaded that they feel no anxiety at all. If you want to use that kind of cliffhanger, you have to establish quite well that you are willing and capable of killing off characters, otherwise no one will take it seriously.

    Emotional cliffhangers work well in a story from climax down, as by that time people have usually formed a decent connection with at least one character or other.

    All that aside, I've seen people try to end every chapter with a cliffhanger and that just doesn't work. At first the audience gets desensitized, and then they move into annoyance as often times there's really no need or effect for and from said cliffhanger.




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